Tea and Terroir: what does it mean?

17 Mar
Tea leaves

Camellia Sinensis (tea plant)

You may or may not already know, that all tea – black tea, oolong tea, green tea, white tea, yellow tea and puerh tea- comes from just one plant, the Camellia Sinensis. The Camellia Sinensis grows all over the world so why, even when considering different production methods, does a tea grown in similar conditions in India and Nepal, which is just a stone’s throw away, taste completely different?

The secret lies in terroir. Terroir is a French term that comes from the word terre, meaning land. We don’t have a direct translation in English but in one word terroir perfectly describes the impact that geology, geography and climate and the variety and age of the plant has on the flavour of food and drink.

The easiest way to describe it is ‘the sense of a place’ where the magic qualities of that specific place and plant come together to produce the finest aromas and flavours. When terroir is applied to tea, wine, chocolate, tomatoes, coffee, spices, olive oil (and much more) you can really begin to explore the desirable nuances of each country.

I hope that helps a little. I’ll look a little more into why and how terroir changes a tea’s character in the next post.

 

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